“Football is like life – it requires perseverance, self-denial, hard work, sacrifice, dedication, and respect for authority.” This immortal quote from Vince Lombardi hung outside the practice field where John practiced with his football team every August in the southwest Oklahoma heat. It was there, among the wheat fields, cow pastures, and oil derricks, where John learned the value of commitment, hard work, and fighting for what’s right.
After graduating from the University of Oklahoma law school in 1994, John and his new wife, Julie, also a graduate of OU Law, decided to move to fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada. They hopped into their 1982 Chrysler LeBaron and headed west. Money was tight, and ramen was a regular on the menu while they studied for the bar. Both passed on their first attempt, and within a year, John moved on from working as an associate attorney in a small firm to founding his law practice.
Starting the new practice was tough, but John thrived in helping regular people solve their problems. From criminal matters to divorces to personal injury claims, John steadily grew his practice by doggedly pursuing his clients’ best interests.
As his skill and experience grew, John tackled more serious matters, including a capital murder case against the Clark County District Attorney’s most experienced prosecuting team. The case involved an assault rifle shootout with police and a devastating 911 call from the victim’s wife. By relentlessly focusing on the prosecution’s lack of crucial evidence, winning several critical evidentiary rulings, and describing the client’s history of childhood abuse and neglect, John and his team saved the accused from execution.
After vigorously defending his clients’ constitutional rights in federal and state courts, including in front of the Nevada Supreme Court, John shifted focus to help those injured by the negligence of others. An example of one of those early cases involved a client who had suffered a severe injury during a riot at a hip-hop concert. John proved the concert promoter had severely understaffed the venue, putting profits over safety. After initially denying any liability, the concert promoter paid a large settlement to resolve the claim.
Since that time, John has continued the fight for the injured and disabled, including the case of Thomas Novick. Mr. Novick was severely injured when a 14,000+ pound Sky-Trak 5028 rough terrain forklift ran over him. Mr. Novick was pinned beneath one of the forklift’s tires as the driver was parking the machine, which slowly rolled backward across the lower half of Mr. Novick’s body. John and his team proved the forklift operator’s company did not have an adequate commitment to safety. For example, the forklift driver, the brother-in-law of the company’s owner, was promoted to safety director after the most severe injury in company history. John also proved that the company used untrained temporary workers and did not respond to the accident with a proper safety alert or incident report. The jury agreed and awarded almost $20,000,000 to Mr. Novick.
John continues to advance the cause of the underdog through his volunteer work, including serving as the past chair of the Nevada State Bar’s Client Security Fund, a fund designed to help victims of attorney fraud, as a former member of the Board of Governors for the Nevada Justice Association, and as a member of the State Bar’s Mock Trial Committee. John has actively coached several high school mock trial teams, including the 2019 state champions who went on to represent Nevada at the National High School Mock Trial National Championships.
John and Julie are committed to making their community better. In 2015, John, Julie, and their daughter, Alexandria, founded the non-profit charity, SpectrumConnects, which helps children on the autism spectrum meet and form lasting friendships based on similar interests, abilities, and location. This program continues under the auspices of Families for Effective Autism Treatment and has helped hundreds of kids on the spectrum live happier and healthier lives. If you have a child on the autism spectrum that you feel can benefit, you can find out more about the program here: https://featsonv.org/spectrumconnects.
John’s outstanding legal work has been honored by his peers with an AV Preeminent rating from Martindale Hubbell. AV rating is given only to the top 10% of attorneys who possess the highest level of professional excellence for their legal expertise, communication skills, and ethical standards. John’s clients have also voiced their approval by rating him as Client Champion – Platinum, the highest client-determined award available through Martindale.
The State Bar of Nevada has also honored John’s integrity, professionalism, and dedication by certifying him as a member of the inaugural class of Personal Injury Specialists. This certification is given only to those attorneys who dedicate their practice to personal injury, successfully pass a rigorous oral and written examination, and show successful completion of at least ten jury trials to verdict. In addition, because of John’s legal acumen, the courts have selected him as an arbitrator for the Eighth Judicial District and as a special criminal prosecutor.
John has also worked to advance legal scholarship by teaching other lawyers as part of continuing legal education programs and publishing articles discussing important aspects of Nevada law, including a discussion of Nevada Strict Product Liability laws ( Strict Product Liability ), an analysis of Nevada’s laws regarding liability waivers Please Release Me: Defeating a Liability Waiver, and a review of Nevada’s medical malpractice laws (Nevada Medical Malpractice 101: An Overview of Nevada Medical Negligence Laws)